My Citizens, your supreme Leader – the never fungible TFD! – has just returned from a 2-week trip to the Nordic region, including several days in the starkly beautiful country of Iceland!
While there, I was privileged to try this mainstay of Icelandic cooking in the charming Hamlet of Vik on the southern coast of the country where despite being June, it was a chilly 6 degrees Celsius. The lamb used in the soup was literally raised in a field across from the restaurant and it was incredibly delicious! So much so that I am compelled to share it with TFD Nation.
Icelandic meat soup or just ‘meat soup’ is a soup of lamb and vegetables. Most commonly, the soup includes potatoes, carrots and cabbage, but other vegetable types are also used, such as onion and leek, and it is flavored with dried soup herbs. Often, grains are used in the soup to thicken it, such as rice, rolled oats or barley.
Earlier in the centuries, cheeses that were eaten fresh were usually boiled in the soup, which was then pleasantly flavored with lactic acid (a common flavor profile in old Icelandic recipes).
There were no vegetables in the original versions of the soup, but usually some grains, predominately barley and when rice was introduced to the country, it was also used. Imported soup mixtures came to the scene in the late 19th century, and at the same time vegetables were used in the soup, especially potatoes.
Young lamb and goat meat was not the only meat used in soup. Salt meat was often used and sometimes beef and veal, as well as horsemeat . Usually, meat of the forefront or chest is used, sawn into rather large pieces (soup meat).
In the past, this soup was often served on Sunday or as part of a feast and sometimes a Christmas dinner, but now it is a part of everyday life and even a packet soup from Toro, known as Icelandic meat soup.
Many people think the soup is a good example of traditional Icelandic cuisine, and when Icelanders abroad have to introduce Icelandic cuisine for foreigners, they often cook meat soup.
Similar soups are known elsewhere, especially wherr similar vegetable species are grown and sheep farming is common, such as in Norway and Scotland.
My version hews strongly to tradition, updated only by my enjoyment of bay leaves, which are typically not used in this recipe. Feel free to leave them out. I recommend both Icelandic sea salt and their superlative dried herb mix known as Villikrydd. You can get the salt here and the Villikrydd here. If you so prefer, just use your favorite dried herb mixture in place of the Villikrydd.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 2 pounds lamb shoulder (preferably with some bone)
- 6 cups water, plus more if necessary
- 2 teaspoons sea salt – Icelandic if you can get it
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves (not traditional, but TFD likes it)
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only – chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons mixed dried herbs, TFD strongly endorses Villikrydd
- ½ pound rutabaga, peeled and chopped
- ½ pound carrots, peeled and chopped
- ½ pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup chopped green cabbage
- Chives and parsley (for garnish)
- Trim some of the excess fat off the meat, and cut into chunks. Place it in a large pot, add 6 cups cold water and heat slowly to a boil. Skim the broth, then add salt, pepper, onion, bay leaves (if using) and dried herbs. Simmer, partly covered, for about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. They should be chunky, large enough that each piece is a separate spoonful. Add the rutabaga, carrots and potatoes to the soup, and continue simmering for 15 minutes more.
- Add the cabbage and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Lift the meat out from the soup, and separate out the bones, sinew and excess fat.
- Chop the meat up into bite-sized pieces and add them back into the soup. If needed, add a cup or two of more water, and adjust seasonings.
- Let soup sit overnight for flavors to meld properly, then reheat and serve with the garnishes.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 726.15 kcal
- Sugar: 8.85 g
- Sodium: 1153.41 mg
- Fat: 49.19 g
- Saturated Fat: 21.18 g
- Trans Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 29.44 g
- Fiber: 6.38 g
- Protein: 41.09 g
- Cholesterol: 163.29 mg
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?